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Earth From Space: a unique perspective

A picture is worth a thousand words and this week’s brand new BBC series made in partnership with The Open University shows how true the adage is.

Satellite images from space are being used in Earth from Space to tell stories of life on the planet from a brand-new perspective, revealing new discoveries, incredible colours and patterns, and just how fast it is changing, as the series follows nature’s greatest spectacles, weather events and dramatic seasonal changes. 

Photograph of An image of the whole earth from space.
An image of the whole earth from space. NOAA/NASA

Dr Julia Cooke, lecturer in ecology in the school of Environment Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, was the academic consultant on Earth from Space. Speaking in our behind-the-scenes filmed interviews about her involvement she said,

“In the last few decades the number of satellites that we’ve put up in the sky has increased enormously and so this series showcases some of the most interesting and extraordinary things we can see from space and what we can learn from that.


“Initially we met with the series and the episode producers, very early on, and at that stage we could make suggestions about perhaps other areas of research that were very new that they might not yet have heard of. ”

“Most of filming then happened and we met the episode producers again and watched ‘long cuts’ to see what footage they’d got and how they were putting it together and then we could try and help find ways to explain the things that they wanted to say.”

The first of four weekly episodes ‘A New Perspective’ is due to be broadcast at 21:00 on Wednesday 17th April on BBC One.  It will show an elephant family struggling through drought, reveal previously unknown emperor penguin colonies from the colour of their poo and discover mysterious ice rings that could put seal pups in danger.

BBC photograph of elephants
A group of elephants cast shadows on the dry plains of Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve. BBC

You can discover Earth’s changing colours and magnificent patterns seen from space, with the OU’s FREE ‘Earth From Space’ poster, which can be ordered here or by calling 0300 303 3821.

This series was commissioned by Broadcast and Partnerships and is supported by the Faculty of Science Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Programme credits:

  • Commissioned for The Open University by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast and Partnerships
  • OU Academic Consultants: Dr Julia Cooke, Dr Clare Warren, Dr Kadmiel Maseyk and Stacy Phillips
  • Lead OU Media Fellow: Prof. Mark Brandon
  • OU Broadcast Project Manager: Caroline Green
  • OU Digital Content Producer: Georgia Axtell-Powell
  • BBC Commissioning Editor: Craig Hunter
  • BBC Executive Producer: Jo Shinner
  • BBC Series Producer: Chloe Sarosh
  • BBC Series Director: Barny Revill

Producers: Justin Anderson and Paul Thompson

About Author

Rachel is Senior Manager, Media Relations team. She is a skilled communicator with more than ten years’ experience in Public Relations. She holds a BA (Hons) Media Production from the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside. Rachel specialises in stories from the Faculty of Business and Law, students, academic research, BBC programmes, technology, innovation and skills. Rachel has three large dogs, two children and enjoys growing her own veg.

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